The European Commission has set out plans to make banks slash fees on cross-border euro payments between EU countries that are in the euro zone and those that are not.
Currently, there is no difference for euro area residents or businesses if they carry out euro transactions in their own country or with another of the 19 euro area countries.
However, residents of EU countries outside of the euro area do not have the same privileges. For example, a EUR10 cross-border credit transfer from Bulgaria could be subject to a fee of up to EUR24.
This, says the EC, is an obstacle to its vision of a single market, creating barriers to the cross-border activities of households and businesses, in particular SMEs.
Under the new proposals, a cross-border credit transfer in euros from Bulgaria will be priced the same as a domestic Bulgarian lev credit transfer.
However, the rules would not apply to cross-border transactions between EU countries outside of the euro area - for example, the UK pound and Bulgaria lev. Nor would it apply to to countries outside of the EU, meaning migrant remittances will not see fees come down.
The move could hit profits for EU banks outside the euro area but the EC says that "these payments already benefit from an efficient infrastructure and are processed without manual intervention".
And, the commission argues, consumers will not lose out because the plan will "incentivise payment services providers across the EU to provide cheaper cross-border payments in euro to the benefits of consumers and the EU economy as a whole".
The proposal will also require that consumers are fully informed of the cost of a currency conversion before they make a payment, for example, with their card abroad.
The legislative proposal will now be submitted to the European Parliament and Council for adoption.